Country music and the Christmas holidays go together like a warm cup of hot chocolate on a snowy evening. And even better if that combination includes another classic in the form of the legendary voice and artistry of Loretta Lynn as is found on only the artist’s second career holiday recording, White Christmas Blue. With a stellar cast of studio musicians and a set list of Christmas favorites alongside some Lynn originals, this is a warmhearted record tailor made for a trip over the river and through the woods on the way to Grandma’s house.
The title track, co-written and performed with co-conspirator Shawn Camp, sets the album’s tone early with an easy, loping bass line and rich acoustic guitar alongside a lovelorn lyric that Lynn owns with ease. A reworked version of Lynn’s “Country Christmas” follows and is easily as good as the original, if not better, with swells of Paul Franklin’s esteemed steel guitar alongside Laura Weber Cash’s rich fiddle fills while the attitude-filled “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus” delivers similar results.
Lynn also lends her voice to traditional favorites, both secular and sacred. “Winter Wonderland” is rendered faithfully, her lilting voice at home against the toasty arrangement and her take on “Blue Christmas” is given a southern-styled makeover, more of Franklin’s swirling steel guitar notes and plucky honkytonk keys from Tony Harrell standing strong. Likewise, “Frosty the Snowman” gets reintroduced via a trip through old Tennessee as “Jingle Bells” gets the toes tapping and “White Christmas” continues to showcase what a great vocalist Lynn truly is.
“Away In a Manger” is offered up with a simple accompaniment, Lynn’s vocals sweet and sublime, while “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” is given a shuffling tone that still maintains the lyric’s worshipful focus. And what Christmas record would be complete without a take on “Silent Night” and Lynn does it just, her voice strong and sweet as she sings the familiar lyrics. Finally, turning things back to the spirit of the holiday, the record comes to a close with a heartfelt reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which will have you feel like a kid again, getting tucked into bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.
On White Christmas Blue, Loretta Lynn again showcases why listeners worldwide call themselves fans. With her familiar classic country sound, honeyed vocals, and a wink in her eye, Lynn delivers a twelve track tour de force of Christmas classics, new and old, that is bound to be many a family’s go to holiday album in years to come.